Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Great Time for a Great Appetizer--Bruschetta

Because there's nothing like fresh basil, Capri Flavors Chef Titina grows two large patches of this classic Italian herb every summer. It's a prime ingredient in one of her cooking class favorites, bruschetta. Fresh tomatoes are also at their peak right now, making it the perfect time to try this elegant but easy starter. Since the preparation is simple enough for even a novice cook, Titina likes to use it as a warm up for her classes. Here's how she makes her famous bruschetta-

  • Slice a baguette into 1/2 inch pieces and toast them in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes

  • Finely chop tomatoes and basil (which have been washed and dried wrapped in kitchen towels)

  • Mince or press 2-3 cloves of garlic (Titina uses and nifty and inexpensive garlic press that Capri Flavors sells)

  • Combine tomatoes, herbs, and dress with salt and pepper and lots of olive oil (Titina uses Basso Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a Capri Flavors favorite)

  • Then spoon over crispy bread and serve.

Like most classic Italian food, it is a simple dish that relies on the best ingredients. Enjoy.
And for Titina's new class schedule, just click. You'll find them all in an early blog posting.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Calzones to die for

After a short summer break, Capri Flavors Chef Titina is back in kitchen with new menus and recipes that are new new to the cooking classes. Among them--delicious calzones which were a big hit with students this week.

Titina’s version of this Italian classic (titled: Bomboloni Capresi ) are remarkably tender. The filling is simple—fresh mozzarella cheese and ham—all topped with marinara sauce.

Titina’s calzone dough is not the common pizza dough (water, yeast and flour) calzone combination. She adds eggs and milk to the flour, the way her father taught her in the family restaurant on the island of Capri. (He learned the recipe from a chef in Cannes, France)

The calzones are fried…but you’d never know it. They are light, soft, brown and hold on to none of the oil. Again, Titina credits the eggs and milk in dough for the nice light texture.

If you’d like to sample Bomboloni Capresi check out the Capri Menu dates for Titina's classes. Also on the Capri menu another new dish that drew raves--Pollo alle Castagne or chicken and chestnuts. And keep an eye on Titina’s recipe file. Bomboloni Capresi will be coming soon. Right now, she's busy in the kitchen.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Local Peaches at their Peak

Like all great Italian cooks, Titina prizes fresh, local ingredients. So when North Carolina peaches reached their peak last week, she was a local orchard picking out the best of crop.

Her peaches made the trip from the tree to the freezer in a day. Titina has a vacuum pack machine and she uses it often, freezing fruits, vegetables and summer herbs for the winter months ahead.

Last week's peaches will end up in a Capri Flavors cooking class favorite--Bellini's. You can find many recipes for this popular cocktail but Titina makes it the simplest and most traditional way.

She insists the cocktail needs no garnish. It fact the color is said to be the beauty of the drink. The Italian bartender who invented it supposedly named his hit drink after a favorite background color in the paintings of the great artist Bellini.

Fresh peaches make great Bellini's also...and this is the perfect season for enjoying them. Here are Titina's instructions:

3 ripe white peaches peeled and pureed in the food processor

Mixed with one bottle very cold Procecco (Italian champagne) and enjoy!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New class schedule

Since opening the Capri Flavors retail store and classroom kitchen in Morrisville, North Carolina, Titina has taught thousands of people of all ages and skill levels how to cook and enjoy great Italian food. Here are her new 2009 menus for late summer and fall classes.

New Class Menus and Dates

Capri Menu
Limoncello (Lemon Liquor)

Bomboloni Capresi (Friters Filled with Mozzarella and Ham)

Pollo alle Castagne (Chicken with Chestnut Sauce)

Cavolfiori al Gratinati (Cauliflower Gratin)

Torta Caprese (Almond and Chocolate Cake)

Capri Menu Schedule
Capri DatesMonday: 7/20, 8/24, 9/28, 11/2Friday: 7/24, 8/24, 9/28, 11/2

Napoli Menu

Gnocchi di Patate (potato dumplings)

Braciole al Ragu’(Beef Rolls in Heavy Sauce)

Piselli al Prosciutto (Peas and Prosciutto)

Pastiera Napoletana (Italian Easter Cake)

Napoli Menu Schedule
Napoli DatesMonday: 7/27, 8/31, 10/5, 11/9Friday: 7/31, 9/4 , 10/9, 11/3

Parma Menu
Crespelle al Formaggio e Prosciutto (Cheese and Ham Crepes)

Aragosta al Balsamico (Lobster in Balsamic Sauce)

Melenzane alla Parmigiana (Eggplant Parmesan)

Torta di Capri al limoncello (Capri Cake with Lemoncello)

Parma Menu Schedule
Parma DatesMonday: 8/3, 9/7, 10/12, 11/6Friday: 8/7, 9/11, 10/16, 11/20

Cremona Menu
Polenta ai Funghi (Polenta with Mushrooms)

Anatra in Salsa (Duck in Cognac Sauce)

Escarole con Pinoli (Spinach Sauteed with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts)

Crema Caramellata (Creme Caramel)

Cremona Menu Schedule
Cremona DatesMonday:8 /10, 9/14, 10/19,11/23Friday: 8/14, 9/18, 10/23, 11/27

Fiesole Menu
Risotto alla Milanese (Risotto with Mushrooms)

Maiale al Finocchio (Pork with Fennel)

Peperoni Saltati (Bell Pepper Saute)

Tiramisu (Classic Italian Dessert)

Fiesole Menu schedule
Mondays : 8/17, 9/21, 10/20, 11/30Fridays : 8/21, 9/25, 10/30, 12/4.

Private Classes with Titina

Titina's Private cooking classes are also very popular and a great way for 10-14 people to celebrate a special occasion. Gift Certificates for private classes are often given in honor of birthdays, anniversaries, or a job well done. These special meals can be scheduled at lunch (prefect for co-workers) or dinner. Three menus are available to choose from. Call Jennifer at Capri Flavors 1-800-861-5440 or 919-462-9255 , (ext.706) to find out more.

  • Private Class Menu I

    Pasta alla Norma - Pasta with Fried Eggplant
    Maiale al Finocchio- Pork Tenderloin with Fennel
    Piselli al Prosciutto - Spring Peas with Prosciutto
    Torta Caprese - Almond and Chocolate Cake

  • Private Class Menu II

    Risotto alla Milanese- Risotto with Mushrooms
    Pollo alla Cacciatore - Chicken Cacciatore
    Cannellini e Scarole - Cannellini and Escarole Saute
    Tiramisu - Classic Italian Dessert

  • Private Class Menu III

    Spaghetti Crespati - Crispy Spaghetti
    Melenzane alla Parmigiana - Eggplant Parmesan
  • Gamberetti e Fagioli Cannellini-Shrimp with white Beans
    Affogato al Caffe Espresso - Espresso Drowned Ice Cream